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An implementation of the traditional UNIX macro processor in that it copies its input to the output, expanding macros as it goes. Macros are either built-in or user-defined and can take any number of arguments. M4 also has built-in functions for including named files, running shell commands, doing integer arithmetic, manipulating text in various ways, and recursions. It can also be used as either a front-end to a compiler or as a macro processor in its own right. It is often used to generate HTML as it can give a consistent look to pages. If GNU `m4' is meant to serve GNU `autoconf', beware that `m4' should be fully installed *prior to* configuring `autoconf' itself.


User reference manual available from

Heckert gnu.small.png This is a GNU package:m4


Download version 1.4.17 (stable)
released on 22 September 2013

VCS Checkout



LicenseVerified byVerified onNotes
GPLv2orlaterKelly Hopkins31 August 2010
GPLv3orlaterKelly Hopkins31 August 2010

Leaders and contributors

Eric Blake Maintainer
Gary V. Vaughan Maintainer
Rene Seindal Maintainer
See the M4 THANKS file for a complete list: Contributor
Akim Demaille Maintainer

Resources and communication

Audience Resource type URI
Bug Tracking E-mail
Help E-mail
Developer E-mail
Help Newsgroup gnu.announce
Developer VCS Repository Webview

Software prerequisites

This entry (in part or in whole) was last reviewed on 22 September 2013.


Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.3 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the page “GNU Free Documentation License”.

The copyright and license notices on this page only apply to the text on this page. Any software or copyright-licenses or other similar notices described in this text has its own copyright notice and license, which can usually be found in the distribution or license text itself.

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